By Helen Chatterton
The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash is another production hailing from Oxford. Hauntingly emotional, this is a highlight of student theatre in Edinburgh this summer, and well deserving of the hype that has been surrounding it.
The sung-through production follows three women: the mother, the fiancé and the ‘other woman’, as they come to terms with the loss of an unseen man, Alex. They must also contend with the deeply oppressive atmosphere of life in London. The relation of the three characters was not originally conveyed with a great deal of success, with the audience only coming to understand who he was much later on; the plot did leave many questions unresolved. Despite this, the fact that the narrative was so successfully portrayed through song should not be overlooked.
Each of the three actors was highly talented vocally, taking on a range of musical numbers with skill. Their harmonies were near flawless, and the round style singing well-executed. All members of the cast embodied their roles well, as well as their individual grief, the portrayal of which brought tears to the eyes of some audience members. A standout performance was given by Ellen Timothy as Julia, Alex’s mother, whose attempt to come to terms with her loss defied audience expectations. Additionally, Timothy’s performance was terrifyingly realistic.
The lyrics were undoubtedly beautiful, and the music fitted the story well, and the use of a jazz drummer was critical to creating tension. However, at times, it felt like the solos went on a little too long.
Dealing with a small venue, the cast did well to create a feeling of space, and for the most part avoided stepping on each other’s toes. However, the use of crates on stage became somewhat unwieldy, and the need for cast members to rummage for what they were looking for was sometimes distracting. That said, the presentation of isolation was highly realistic.
Despite some criticisms, The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash is sure to leave its audience thinking, and is well worth the watch.
Photograph: Úna O’Sullivan